Nothing says summer quite like the sweet juicy flavors of stone fruits. The only challenge with stone fruits compared to apples or pears, is that fresh stone fruits don’t store well.
What does “Stone fruit” mean? I’m so glad you asked! The term comes from the stone-hard covering found around the single large seed at the fruit’s core. The stone supports the fruit as it hangs off the tree branch by its stem and provides a passage for nutrients to flow from the tree to the growing fruit.
Storage Tips: Peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums and their hybrids are best ripened at room temperature, stem-end down. Don’t refrigerate fruit before it’s ripe, or it may develop a wrinkled skin and mealy flesh. Ripe fruit is soft, has a sweet aroma and can be store in the refrigerator for a few days. Cherries are ready to eat when purchased and can be kept in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for up to three days.
Cooking Methods: Stone fruits are delicious eaten as is, but they also can be roasted, poached or sautéed, baked into pies and crumbles, tossed into salads, made into jams or used as a sauce.
Plums: Fresh plums are a good source of vitamin C, while died plums-also known as prunes- provide fiber and Vitamin A, and may be pureed and substituted for fat in cakes, quick breads or muffins.
Nectarines: Nectarines have a smooth skin versus a peaches’ fuzz. Like peaches, a nectarine’s flesh may be white or yellow. These cousins can be used interchangeably in recipes, but nectarines offer the advantage of having no skin to peel.
Peaches: peaches come in clingstone and freestone varieties. A clingstone’s fruit doesn’t fall off its pit, making it fine for eating but a chore for slicing. However, a freestone’s fruit easily separates from its pit. You can’t tell whether a peach is a clingstone or freestone by its looks, but clingstones typically arrives first at farmers markets, followed by freestones.
Cherries: Sweet or sour, cherries are a good source of vitamin C and potassium. Since they must be picked ripe, cherries are a fragile crop. Sweet cherries are mainly sold fresh, but most cherries grown are sour varieties and typically are canned, frozen, or dried.
Apricots: Apricots are rich in pectin, which provides their creamy texture when eaten ripe and their meatiness when dried. This delicate fruit is most often canned or dried.
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and diced
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 cups of ½-inch ciabatta bread cubes
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 peach, diced
- 1 lb cherries, pitted and halved
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 cup chopped basil
- 5 oz baby arugula
- 4 oz goat cheese, crumbles
- Balsamic syrup for drizzling
- Heat oven to 350F
- Arrange the tomatoes and the zucchini on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and salt, to taste. Roast for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Set Aside.
- Meanwhile, toss the bread cubes with 2 tbsp olive oil, a pinch of salt, and the garlic. Bake for 20 minutes or until crispy and starting to brown, stirring halfway through. Let cool to room temperature.
- Ina large bowl, toss the roasted vegetables with the croutons, fruit, red wine vinegar, remaining olive oil, basil, arugula, and goat cheese. Let sit for at least 10 min before serving. Serve drizzled with balsamic syrup.